Grandad Ron explains why we should be giving back all year round

Grandad Ron revisits his personal Christmas tradition which gives us a lesson about giving back to society from the Victorian era…

Grandad Ron closed the book and slid the palm of his hand over the cover. He had read the book every year, at Christmas, since his mother had given him this particular copy more then 40 years ago.

“I’m surprised you don’t know every word of that book by now,” son Ollie chided him gently. “You’ve been reading it at Christmas for as long as I can remember.”

“And before that too, son. I don’t know every word, but I understand the lessons it offers,” the older man replied. “Trouble is, the world at large doesn’t, even though they were first taught, as far as this book is concerned, more than 160 years ago.”

“And then lots of other times afterwards in loads of films, adds his son. My favourite is the Muppet version.”

The book in question was written by Charles Dickens in the middle of the nineteenth century. Its title was A Christmas Carol.

“The Muppets. Yes, they add humour that’s not in the original, and open the story to a new audience. Nothing wrong with that,” said Ron.

“What’s the lesson we need to take away from it?” asked Ollie.

The book’s lesson
“In a sentence, that we live in an unequal world, greed keeps it that way, and it would be better for everyone if we were just a bit less greedy. It’s as John Lennon once said – or the internet said he said it; you can never be sure these days – that if everyone wanted peace more than they wanted another television set, then there would be peace.

“That’s why Solo Expenses’ Giving Back initiative is so important. It recognises that there are people who aren’t as lucky as we are; people who live their lives against a backdrop of greater difficulty than we can imagine. By being donors to worthwhile causes – on a regular basis, simply by being Solo Expenses customers through the Giving Back process – we can all do something to redress the balance.

“Take the NASA mission to Mars. Why have we gone there? There’s nothing wrong with that in itself, but why do we need to go there to find out if there’s water and life out there when there are people in parts of the world who have no drinking water? They’re life too, and don’t they have human rights that say they deserve to have clean water to drink? It’s not rocket science.”

It is rocket science
“Actually Dad, we couldn’t get to Mars without rocket science,” said Ollie.

“Don’t be cheeky. You understand what I mean. The world at large lives in the ‘me’ bubble, and can’t see that we try too hard to do the wrong, and often selfish, thing.

“In Dickens’ story Scrooge changes for good, and everyone’s life improves. Here, let me read it to you.” He turned up the page, at the end of the story, and read: ‘Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe for good at which some people did not have their laugh at the outset. His own heart laughed, and that was quite enough for him’. And good enough for the people who’ve been helped, I shouldn’t wonder,” he added.

Picture: Prawny, via Pixabay under Creative Commons licence. This is an Arthur Rackham illustration from the book.